COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Junior Shea Groom broke a scoreless tie in the 79th minute of action and sent No. 12 Texas A&M to a 1-0 win over the UTSA Roadrunners in collegiate soccer action at Ellis Field on Sunday evening.
With the Aggies struggling to break the scoring seal despite 11 shots-on-goal through 78 minutes, freshman defender Grace Wright controlled the ball on the left touchline at midfield and boomed a pass towards the far post with Groom in pursuit. After one bounce, the mercurial forward knocked a one-timer out of the air with her right foot to the left of the Roadrunners’ goalkeeper and into the back net for the 1-0 lead with 11:33 remaining in the second half.
UTSA nearly evened the score 30 seconds later. The Roadrunners launched a ball into the box and a UTSA forward wiped out A&M goalkeeper Jordan Day to leave the net unattended for the Aggies. Kaytee O’Brien collected the ball in the scrum 10 yards out and sent in a shot, but Karlie Mueller, playing solid defense, kept the ball from crossing the line for the team save.
Texas A&M owned decisive advantages in shots (26-7), shots-on-goal (14-2) and corner kicks (7-1), but were unable to create separation in the contest.
Day made one save and picked up her first shutout of the season and the 24th of her career. With the shutout, Day tied Kati Jo Spisak for second place on A&M’s career shutout list. The duo trails only Melanie Wilson who registered 32 from 1996-99.
Bubba Makela made 13 saves for UTSA, including eight in the second half.
Coming out of the intermission tied 0-0, the Aggies threw numbers into the attack to try to get the offense rolling. In the first 10 minutes of the half, defender Mueller took a pair of shots and midfielder Meghan Streight added a shot, but Makela came up with saves all three times.
Day’s lone save of the game was a valiant one, diving to her left to get a glove on a shot from Happy Orere-Amadu in the 57th minute.
Texas A&M’s pressure returned for the next 12 minutes with five corner kicks and six shots, but Makela made five saves before Groom finally found the net.
The Aggies had 10 different players uncork shots, including eight with multiple shots. Groom led the attack with five shots, including three shots-on-goal. All three of Allie Bailey’s shots were shots-on-goal. Kunz, Kelley Monogue and Mueller each had two shots-on-goal.
With the victory, Texas A&M improved to 19-0-3 against in-state foes since 2008.
The Aggies return to action on Friday when they host the Arizona State Sun Devils in a 7:30 pm contest at Ellis Field.
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
Texas A&M Head Coach G Guerrieri
On changing the game plan at halftime: "We're going to go with the plan that should work and if it doesn't work we're going to adjust. I thought Allie Bailey had a really good game. She did a nice job of spreading them out. She was a key person that came in. Kelley Monogue's ability to control the ball really made a difference. We weren't patient enough. We were trying to do things that were much too difficult rather than making one more pass."
On Grace Wright's performance: "Grace Wright had a great debut. She was able to get an assist in her first game. She can not only defend well, but she's very good at using her body. She did a really good job of setting us up. It was big for her playing in front of her hometown and university."
Junior Forward Shea Groom
On Grace Wright’s performance: "Grace is a great player. She comes with a lot of experience from the Irish National team. We're proud of how she's developed throughout the preseason. I think she did great tonight."
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